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rainoftoads
31 October 2008 @ 04:46 pm
Copy this sentence into your livejournal if you're in a heterosexual marriage/relationship (or if you think you might be someday), and you don't want it "protected" by the bigots who think that gay marriage hurts it somehow.


People wanting the right to marry? That makes me think marriage is even more awesome!
 
 
rainoftoads
30 September 2008 @ 09:38 am
My troubles with brewing dark beers continue. I thought that I had licked it after a few nice brown to very dark brown beers, but I just tasted the Irish stout (almost as black as my shriveled heart) I have in the fermenter right now and it is not good.

Ramblings and labels...Collapse )




 
 
Current Mood: cursed
 
 
rainoftoads
19 September 2008 @ 09:34 am
I tried to do my part for "Poop Like a Pirate" day by relieving myself over the side of the Friendship, the clipper ship reconstruction that's harbored in Salem, but I guess I must have misunderstood something because it caused a jolly old ruckus.  I ended up taking part in "Hide From An Angry Park Ranger Like a Pirate" day instead.
 
 
Current Mood: pooped
 
 
rainoftoads
19 August 2008 @ 05:45 pm
Monday was a week since I was laid off, so it was time to get serious about the job hunt.  Nora and myself used a shared Google document to work on my resume - a former colleague and his wife helped as well.  At one point there were 4 of us all editing the same document (oh brave new world).  Once we were happy with it, I applied for two jobs - one at Google (just for shits and giggles, I don't think they would give me a job in a million years) and one at MIT (a bit of a stretch, but it was good practice at writing a cover letter and it gets me in the system).  I also updated a recruiter I had been working with before and sent him my new resume.

 
 
Current Location: upstairs office
Current Mood: productiveproductive
Current Music: Ray Davies - Working Man's Cafe
 
 
rainoftoads
18 August 2008 @ 05:18 pm
WiiWare:  Wild West Guns.
Price:  1000 Wii Points.
Worth your time?  Probably not.

Wild West Guns is pitched at people who have mastered Link's Crossbow Training and want to get more use out of the Wii Zapper.  Unfortunately, it's nowhere near as good as LCT.  The environments are fairly static, with the targets usually poorly integrated.  Some of the missions are bizarre.  It can be hard to figure out how well you're doing.  For the most part, it's very easy.  The most challenging sections are the gunfights with large numbers of the same six characters, who keep popping up from behind train windows or gravestones to blast you.  Your opponents will be:  cowboy in red, cowboy in white, soldier in blue, ethnic stereotype #1 (Mexican gentleman who clearly has no need for stinking badges), ethnic stereotype #2 (native american brave) and token scantily clad babe wearing leather pants and a sports bra.  BTW, watch out for the lady in the sports bra, she is the fastest shooter in the game by far.   It's fun, but it's kind of uninspired.  I'm not sure who they're aiming for, either.  The gameplay would indicate that it's casual family fare, but the stereotypes, scantily clad women and extra points for headshots (nice shooting, Timmy!) not so much.  Worth 500 points at most.

Beer:  Sam Adams Scotch Ale
Price:  $14 for 12-pack "Brewers Collection" containing 2 each of 6 varieties.
Worth your time?  Not unless you're a big fan of smoke.

American microbrewers and homebrewers have long had a symbiotic relationship.  This is in stark contrast to other countries, where small brewers are more likely to have come out of the professional brewing world.  Unfortunately, this means that a lot of the dodgier practices of homebrewers have taken on an air of legitimacy once they've gone commercial.  One of these practices is putting peat-smoked malt in "Scottish" ales, something that would never happen in Scotland where peat-smoked malt is more sensibly used to make Whisky.  Somebody, somewhere, wrote that they though that some scottish ales had a "peaty" character.  Since then, homebrewers, who are often lacking in subtlety, have taken this as a license to stick peat-smoked malt into Scottish ales.  Never mind the fact that the original writer was probably a professional beer-taster picking up on a subtle flavour that he was trying to put a word to.  The problem is that peat-smoked malt is really powerful stuff and the result is often like drinking smoke.  Like in this case.   The rest of the beers in the 12 pack are great stuff, but Sam Adams does love to stick one clunker into every variety pack they put out.

WiiWare:  Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People
Price:  1000 Wii Points
Worth your time?  Oh yes.  Unless you're not into the whole Homestar Runner thing.

This is like an interactive Homestar Runner episode.  All of the characters are here, doing their things.  It's funny and totally surreal.  The gameplay is classic point-and-click adventure and it takes a while to get your brain into the right angles to figure out the puzzles.  We needed help near the beginning, but once we saw how the game logic worked, we were able to blast through without any more hints.  I think we're about 2/3rds of the way through.  It's a lot of fun and a great game for two people to play together, although there may be some fights over who gets to hold the remote.

That is all the products and services that I wish to report on for the moment.  Thank you for your time.
 
 
Current Mood: productiveproductive
 
 
 
rainoftoads
17 August 2008 @ 08:34 pm
Jaws  
We've been considering the question of whether Special Agent Taz of the Feline Bureau of Investigation needs a partner, or whether he's better off as the lone wolf loose cannon who can't be reined in.  He seemed very good with the other cats in the shelter, but his little tussle with Dorothy from next door made us think twice.  Today we had another indication that perhaps Taz prefers to be the only game in town.

Today we drove down to Connecticut to help Nora's parents get their yard ready for their big party next weekend.  There was lifting, weeding and general fetching and carrying to be done.  Before heading out, I spent some time hanging out with one of their cats, Beeblebrox, an unpredictable character who is not prone to affection.  He walked around on my lap, flopped next to me, spent some time licking my arm and wrist and generally rubbed himself all over my left side.

Later that evening, I was sitting on the couch with Taz loafing on the couch arm to my left.  I petted him and after a while he started to get agitated.  He paced back and forth, started sniffing my arm and generally acted like he was on the trail of something.  Now, Taz made his name hunting reds back in the 50's; he's tenacious and knows that appearances can be deceptive.  Sure, it may look like my wrist, but it could be a commie other cat in disguise, trying to sneak into the United States of Tazonia.  So, he gave it a quick nip with his teeth to make sure.  I must have tasted like another cat, because next he just went for it, mouth as wide as it will go.  He didn't really bite down, so he just scratched me a little, but it was a surprise because Taz never bites me, even when playing.

Well, the issue of Taz being alone during the day isn't so pressing at the moment.
Tags:
 
 
Current Mood: scratched
 
 
rainoftoads
15 August 2008 @ 07:15 pm
Today was the day I had a problem with relaxing.

My plan was to rest my weary bones and spend the day playing Civilization IV.  I re-upped my subscription to GameTap for the 99c first month and started the game downloading.  While waiting, I started sorting some of the many piles of papers that have built up in the office over the last couple of years.

Finally, the download was done and I launched my first game.  The computer froze up, making weird screeching sounds.  Clearly there was some incompatibility with my system.  The next few hours were spent tweaking settings, tracking down and installing drivers for hardware and trying to run the game.  This entailed a lot of waiting around, during which time I continued sorting and tidying the office.

In the end, I managed to persuade the game to play for a total of 4 minutes before it crashed my system.  I wonder why it is people are always saying that PC gaming is dying...  On the plus side, the office looks better than it has for a long time.  I also took a break and ran through some tunes on Guitar Hero II.  The PS2 was happy to run software that was designed for it.
 
 
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
 
 
rainoftoads
02 August 2008 @ 12:03 pm
On Friday evening I bottled the American Pale Ale after cold-crashing it in a cooler and ice-water for a couple of days.  The beer was nice and clear and it tasted good.  Since I had sanitizer knocking around, I took a sample from the Saison to see how it was coming along.  It's not done - it's at about 1.016.  I moved it upstairs to raise the temperature a little which will hopefully give it the impetus for the final push.  The sample was cloudy with yeast and tasted good, but unusual.  The lavender definitely comes through, but I don't think it's too strong.  This is going to be an interesting one, but I think it will require a little patience.

A while back, I entered a few labels in the annual BYO label competition, but I didn't even make it to the honorable mention page.   The results are here.  I think I can maybe get an honorable mention next year, if I really strap on my stupid and go for it.  Of course, I suck at Photoshop so hard that I use Paint Shop Pro, but I think a few people made it who are even worse than me.

 
 
Current Mood: artisticartistic
 
 
rainoftoads
01 August 2008 @ 08:38 am
This week we picked our first garden tomatoes of the year.


That's all the garden news from Salem, Mass. 
 
 
Current Mood: amusedamused
 
 
rainoftoads
30 July 2008 @ 09:59 am
Ah, the Somerville Market Basket, how I miss your shenanigans.

Bostonist theorizes that Somerville residents who are rumble-inclined have been left high and dry by the closure of the notorious Good Times Emporium to make way for IKEA (there's gentrification, for ya!), and have settled on the Market Basket parking lot as a new venue.  Because the Market Basket just wasn't crazy enough already.

Anyway, to celebrate the repeal of the 1913 law that prevented out-of-state gay couples from getting married in Massachusetts, here is a picture of Provincetown:

 
 
Current Mood: awakeawake